Your thoughts on secret/super/postgame bosses?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by TheGamedawg, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. TheGamedawg

    TheGamedawg Veteran Veteran

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    One of my favorite things to do after a game's completion is go after the secret boss.  There's something really fun to me about a monster that's meant to be above all others, and finding out a way to defeat this boss that would normally kill you in seconds.

    I'm a bit curious as to your guys' opinions on secret bosses in games.  How would you design them to be incredibly challenging, yet fair?  How many do you like to see per game?  What are some of your favorites?  And where would you hide them?
     
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  2. taarna23

    taarna23 Marshmallow Princess Global Mod

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    I'm still playing my save on FFX International so I can get to and beat Penance... So it keeps some people playing.
     
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  3. AwesomeCool

    AwesomeCool Bratty and spoiled little sister Veteran

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    As long as it makes sense story wise for them to be strong.

    (No random dragon that is 10x stronger then the game's god for some reason)

    edit: if the boss is hinted at throughout the game (but never found), all the better.
     
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  4. laaghisce

    laaghisce Red Dragon Veteran

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    As AwesomeCool said, I really enjoy fighting superbosses that have some sort of build up throughout the plot, like NPC's talking about a legend or as little as reading it through one book. While I don't mind random superboss gods, I strongly prefer built-up superbosses.

    I loved the fight against Yomi from FF13-2 because of how focused I had to be for the battle, one slip up and I could be in a very bad position! (Well I guess that goes for any superboss fight.  :( )

    The strategy for fighting against the boss was to use status-effect skills (in this game they dealt damage but were weak) to kill it slowly over time. It was beatable using much stronger attacks but there's so much more to the battle mechanics, so I'll just say it wasn't optimal to use those attacks the player would normally use against anything else.

    I would design the superboss to have a unique set of skills, rather than having access to every single type of skill. (Ex: every status effect skills, every elemental attacks, every healing skill, etc). It seems unfair to me for them to have everything, unless they're suppose to be THE strongest boss in the game, the kind that if the player beats then they have bragging rights! Because they've defeated the hardest enemy the game has to offer.
     
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  5. Espon

    Espon Lazy Creator Veteran

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    I don't mind the random superboss.  They're there for the challenge most of the time, so casual players shouldn't need to feel obligated to defeat them to understand the whole story.

    I usually hide the superbosses near or after the end of the game since that's ideally when players would fight them.

    I also see nothing wrong with some random dragon that's 10x harder than the final boss.  Not every creature or being is out to rule the world or cares to involve themselves in human conflicts.
     
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  6. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I like having a few superbosses, even if they make absolutely no story sense.  As far as making them "incredibly challenging, but fair"... I don't think most turn-based RPGs have enough design levers to make a boss super-hard without making it impossible if you haven't leveled up enough.  I think the key to making a "fair" superboss is to avoid instant-death skills as well as incredibly powerful (much moreso than his normal attacks) skills that affect the whole party.  Basically the same kind of wisdom I'd suggest for tough storyline boss fights.  If you want to make it an actual battle and not a test of how many powerful items you've brought along, the superboss could have an aura that reduces the power of your consumables and/or prevents revives.
     
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  7. Chrispy

    Chrispy Veteran Veteran

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    My opinion on super-bosses:::

    While I don't mind superbosses, here are some sugestions :::

    - Give them a reason for existing. Final Fantasy VII does a good job of this with the Weapons. They had a full story surrounding them, a cut-scene was dedicated to them, and you fought two of them during the game's story, and it was absolutely no secret where the other two were

    - Make them hard, but.....having to grind to kill them instead of coming up with an actual strategy is kind of dumb. It also makes me spend an inordinate amount of time playing your game's artificially extended play time, and makes me wonder if your haphazard effort putting the boss in the game is worth my effort trying to kill it.

    - Keep the Final Boss the Final Boss. After killing the secret boss, maybe have a scene where the final boss guy swoops in and steals the power left behind, which will then power him up and make him much harder to kill, making him the true super boss and the true final boss.

    - Make the reward worth it, but....if I have to become powerful enough to kill everything in existence just to get the super cool weapon, then there was really no reward at all since I can kill everything in one hit anyways without the weapon.
     
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  8. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Chrispy brings up what has been my biggest issue with superbosses in games so far. I've never liked getting the ultra best weapon in the game after defeating the super boss, as that seems to defeat the purpose of finding the ultra sword ("Oh. I just got this awesome sword, and nothing to use it on). Yet for some reason games do that all the time. Maybe it is for lack of ideas of what would be a fitting reward then?

    Then again, what could be a good reward? After all players would be insulted if you gave them a potion if they defeated Omega Weapon (or whatever you call your superboss). But what can we give them such that it feels like a reward still that is not the ultra sword of doom?
     
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  9. AwesomeCool

    AwesomeCool Bratty and spoiled little sister Veteran

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    @bgillisp - How about a lore or story reveal.  A reward does not have to be linked with power progression after all.

    I too feel that getting the best stuff AFTER you beat the hardest part of the game is really lame (what is left to use it on, slimes that are already easy to beat?).  If anything the best stuff should not be linked to the hardest fights (try trade quest or something instead).
     
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  10. TheGamedawg

    TheGamedawg Veteran Veteran

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    I honestly don't mind getting the game's ultimate weapon from the secret boss.  Getting it from anyplace else would make whatever the secret boss gives you look a little underwhelming.  Maybe there are cool rewards you can give the player aside from that, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.
     
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  11. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I agree with this.  I also think it'sreally fun to go around whacking level one enemies with it and see how much damage I can pile up!
     
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  12. hadecynn

    hadecynn Abyss of Oblivion Veteran

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    If the super boss was indeed fine-tuned in such a way that it rewards player skill/strategy instead of just having the best X, Y, and Z, one thing to consider would be to unlock challenge modes or ways to fight old bosses with new handicaps and whatnot. The kind of players that have the tenacity to stick with fighting an optional super boss that requires a lot of strategizing probably enjoys solving these battle problems, so you could always just reward them with more by changing up some numbers and recycling some old graphic assets.
     
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  13. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Hadecynn: I think you are onto something there myself.

    @Awesomecool: Funny thing is, as I was posting that I almost joked that maybe you should be rewarded with the princess hand in marriage for winning the battle. Now that would at least be different :p

    But on a serious note, maybe it would be fun to make you into a revered super hero of the land once  you defeat the super boss. Everywhere you go, people want your autograph, fans flock to your shows, etc. Might be a fun little reward that's kind of silly and only there for beating the super boss.

    Edit: Or, maybe we could go the Disgaea route and show a different ending if you defeat the super boss?
     
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  14. Espon

    Espon Lazy Creator Veteran

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    Often times the reward is just an achievement; something to show off or fulfill your Platinum Trophy requirement.  A lot of Final Fantasy games give you nothing, or an unusable item.
     
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  15. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Some of the problems of being OP in relation to the final boss if you defeat the super boss would be at least reduced if your final boss does not go down with brute force or ultra weapon, but only by strategy. That way you are not disadvantaging the player who has not gone after the superboss nor boring the player who has.

    On a side note, just like there isn't, imo, much point getting the ultimate weapon after the super boss, neither can I see any point in giving a great reward for the final boss. Personally I wouldn't bother even with EXP, but I can see that some players would like to know for the satisfaction. But gold? Items or gear? Doesn't make sense to me.
     
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  16. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    In RPGs that include a postgame I do see some wisdom in rewarding the player with more power (strongest sword, thousands of Gold, etc.) for beating the final boss, but even beyond that, I think there's a lot of potential for foregoing power and instead giving players playability for beating the final boss - conveniences and cool mechanics that might break the game or its balance if given during the main adventure, but would be fun and harmless if given to a player that has beaten the game.  For example:

    • An accessory that allows penalty-free, 100% reliable, escape from combat
    • A weapon that instantly kills any non-boss monster whose weakness you hit
    • A spell that allows you to teleport anywhere in the world
    • A weapon that grows in power with each monster you kill
    • A reusable item that clears your otherwise-permanent "skill tree" choices and refunds the points you earned
     
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  17. OM3GA-Z3RO

    OM3GA-Z3RO Wounded Seraphim Veteran

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    Persona 4 has a secret boss that you can find through chance and you can always fight it, every time you beat it, it drops the strongest weapon for one of the characters, when you find it again it will be stronger and will always drop a weapon that hasn't been dropped yet for each character in the game, I think it was pretty well thought out.
     
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  18. lycheeDELETED

    lycheeDELETED no longer around here, sorry Veteran

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    I agree with Wavelength that you should give playability to the player instead of superweapons and the like. What I thought out is to give some sort of a key that unlocks previously unreachable parts of the game. This one would be especially good in an exploration-heavy one, with some hints thrown around in the game world.
     
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  19. ZasETLB10

    ZasETLB10 Villager Member

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    I like bosses stronger than the final boss, who appears when you completed the main story. For example, in Dragon Quest IV, the final boss is Psaro, but when you complete the story, a secret map opens, and then you get a special flower, you revive the dead girlfiend of Psaro, and he becomes good, changing the boss for one other monster, called Aamon, who uses the power that Psaro stole instead of him, and he is even more strong. 

    I think this kind of bosses makes you to want to be stronger to defeat them, and you don't stop to play the game.
     
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  20. ARMR

    ARMR Veteran Veteran

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    Heck I use these types of bosses even in my Table Top RPGs! Usually giving the players unique gear if they defeat them.

    I think as long as they are foreshadowed a tincy bit is ok.
     
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